Utah State Schedule Analysis
The 2019 football season will be a pivotal one for the Utah State Aggies as they enter it with new faces in many different places. They also go into this season with a ton of momentum from last years 11-win campaign.
Let’s take a look at the Aggies schedule and see how it affects the season as a whole as well as on a week-by-week basis.
WEEK 1: @ Wake Forest
- The best way to make a name for yourself as a G5 team is to compete, or even defeat, some P5 programs. Last year the Aggies played Michigan State tough in East Lansing and had an opportunity to win it late. This season, USU kicks it off against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are a great P5 team to go up against early because they’re not basement-dwellers, yet they aren’t world-destroyers either. This team isn’t Rutgers or Clemson. A win or a close loss here would get the country talking about the Aggies from the get-go.
WEEK 2: vs Stony Brook
- Last years FCS opponent was a roll over as USU beat Tennessee Tech 73-12. This year, however, doesn’t look to be a blood bath. The Seawolves (side note: amazing name) went 7-5 last year and almost took down James Madison, one of the premier FCS powers. Utah State will be hyped up for their home opener and it just doesn’t seem like SBU has the same talent USU does. There are no guarantees in life, but this should be a solid win for the Aggies as they prepare for conference play.
WEEK 3: BYE
- this is a well placed bye week for Utah State, as it gives them some rest before heading to San Diego State to take on the Aztecs for the conference opener.
WEEK 4: @ San Diego State
- Rocky Long’s SDSU teams are consistent. They’ve been mostly solid and have the ability to win 10 games and compete for a conference title. This game is early in the season, so there may not be a clear picture as to who or what the Aztecs are yet. The Aggies need to be careful here and get it done on the road before SDSU catches fire, because that could happen at any moment.
WEEK 5: vs Colorado State
- We already know CSU is going to come into this game with a chip on their shoulder after what happened at the end of last years contest. Rams head coach Mike Bobo has got something to prove after stumbling last year to a 3-9 record when most predicted Bobo would be taking CSU to new heights. The Aggies need to have complete focus to win this one.
WEEK 6: @ LSU
- The official start time for this game has not yet been announced, but I’ll go ahead and assume it’s at night, presumably prime time. You know where you don’t want to be as an opposing team in prime time? LSU’s Death Valley. It’s a horrifically scary place to play, yet it’s not impossible to win there as a G5. Troy came in and knocked down the Tigers just two years ago. That was a completely different LSU, however. This is a test Utah State hasn’t faced in a while (the last time they played an SEC team they lost to Tennessee 38-7 in 2014) but, with a little luck and a good game plan, anything is possible.
WEEK 7: BYE
- After a very physical game against LSU, the Aggies get a much needed break before heading back home to start what I’d consider one hell of a gauntlet for the next five weeks.
WEEK 8: vs Nevada
- And so begins the gauntlet as the Aggies host the Wolfpack. If JUCO transfer QB Malik Henry can get the ball rolling with Nevada early (he did look great in spring) this could be a very difficult victory to earn.
WEEK 9: @ Air Force
- After what could be a very tough game against Nevada, the Aggies then travel to Colorado Springs to take on the Falcons. Air Force looks to have a resurgence this year with QB Donald Hammond III leading the way. In fact, I picked Air Force to be the biggest turnaround this year in a recent MWCConnection Roundtable. An experienced USU defense will have its hands full with AFA’s triple option offense.
WEEK 10: vs BYU
- The fun doesn’t stop yet, as Utah State then comes back home to face off with BYU for the Wagon Wheel. The Cougars are set to have a big year behind the arm of QB Zach Wilson, who looked nothing short of elite in the back half of last season. Utah State is going to need their home field advantage for this contest.
WEEK 11: @ Fresno State
- After facing off against bitter rival BYU, the Aggies’ road gets even harder as they travel to take on the reigning conference champs. Although I believe Fresno is going to take a definitive step back this season, that doesn’t mean they’re going to be push-overs by any means. This will be a statement game for USU, one way or another.
WEEK 12: vs Wyoming
- The gauntlet continues as the Aggies return home to face off against the Cowboys from Laramie. Last years contest between these two teams was one of the uglier games for Utah State’s offense. The Aggies get the home-field advantage here, but an upstart and rising Wyoming squad may be pushing for the Mountain Division crown by this point in the season. This contest could be pivotal in deciding who wins the division.
WEEK 13: vs Boise State
- For the first time all year, Utah State will play a second straight game at home. It comes at a good time, however, as the Boise State Broncos come to visit. Life just ain’t easy. Boise will be most prognosticator’s pick to win the Mountain West this year and with good reason, as the Broncos consistently churn out talented players at almost every position. At this point in the season, the QB to replace Brett Rypien will be comfortable in his role. He’ll matchup against a solid USU defense in what could possibly be the game of the year in the MWC.
WEEK 14: @ New Mexico
- Finishing off their regular season, the Aggies head to Albuquerque. This is a nice reprieve from what should be an insane run of opponents for the Aggies, but by no means can you take any opponent lightly. UNM is down, but no team is ever truly out. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean the Lobos are going to win or even make this a contest, but Utah State can’t afford to get caught napping after such a tough slate of games.
All in all, Utah State faces a brutal schedule this season. Two P5 opponents, the three best teams from the West Division, an improved BYU, and Boise State as always. If anything, this year will be a proving ground for the Aggies to show that they belong in the top tier of both the Mountain West and the Group of Five. I expect big things from the Aggies this year and I know their fans do as well. It will be quite the ride watching Gary Andersen retake the reins of this program and guide it through what is sure to be one hell of a season
Let us know what you think of Utah State’s upcoming schedule in the comments!
Follow the MountainWestConnection on Twitter @MWCConnection. And follow this writer, Alex (UnderDogsAlways) on Twitter @thesportswizard